Govardhan Puja, also known as Annakut Puja (Annakut means mountain of food), is a Hindu festival celebrated in various regions of India. This festival is observed on the day following Diwali and Lakshmi pooja, which usually falls on the first lunar day of the Hindu month of Kartik. This year in 2023, Govardhan Puja will be celebrated on November 13 with Diwali being on November 12.
Talking about the story behind Govardhan Puja, Prachi Gupta Arora, an astrology expert from All India Institute of Occult Science and True Vastu, shares, “Govardhan Puja and the corresponding worship of Lord Krishna marks the celebration of an event from Krishna’s childhood (Baal Swaroop). According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill on his little finger to protect the people of Gokul village from the torrential rains. The rains were a result of the wrath of Lord Indra, the god of rain, and this calamity continued for seven days before Krishna came to their rescue.”
This act of Lord Krishna is seen as a symbol of his divine power and compassion for his devotees. Lord Krishna’s act of lifting the hill symbolises his divine power and his offer of protection to the villagers. “Also, this was a lesson for Lord Indra and about the power of mother nature, love, strong belief and devotion to God. Govardhan puja upholds the powerful bond of faith, devotion and the relationship of protection between God and the devotee,” says Prachi.
How To Celebrate Govardhan Puja
Prachi Gupta Arora lists the rituals of Govardhan Puja:
– Devotees celebrate this auspicious day by offering milk baths and new clothes and ornaments to the most loveable god Lord Krishna and the most compassionate goddess Shri Radha.
– The puja starts with devotees using a heap of cow dung to form a hill-like structure. This represents Mount Govardhan and devotees decorate it with different colours and flowers.
– The devotees then perform Parikrama (moving around in a circle) around the cow dung hillock while worshipping Lord Krishna and Maa Radha, along with cows and the parvata (mountain) as a lifesaver.
– On this day, devotees of Lord Krishna worship Govardhan Parvat and offer 56 varieties of food (Chappan Bhog) – vegetarian food, milk, curd, butter, and sweets as a mark of gratitude to Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna, as well as to pay respect the Govardhan mountain, which symbolises Mother Nature.
Also Read: Diwali 2023: When Is Diwali? Date, Shubh Muhurat And Significance Of Festival
Govardhan Puja 2023: Dos And Don’ts
Ahead of Govardhan Puja, astrologer Prachi shares the dos and don’ts of Govardhan puja:
– Devotees are advised to take an oil massage and bath in the morning
– Govardhan Parvat is made out of cow dung outside the house before worshipping the Lord Krishna.
– Offer 56 varieties of food to Mother Nature (Govardhan Parvat) and Lord Krishna.
– It is advised by the monks and rishi-munis to recite Vishnu Sahastanama and worship Lord Vishnu, so that all the wishes are fulfilled on this auspicious day.
– Offer Annakut prasadam to everyone in our family and friends. Offer food to less fortunate people.
– Light a lamp in the northeast direction as this holds a great significance in the religion. This is believed to maintain happiness, peace and prosperity among the family members and in the house.
– Devotees must light a lamp near the Peepal (Ficus or Sacred fig Tree) in respect to all the ancestors and to prevent all the troubles in future.
– It is also advisable to worship cows and offer food to her.
– It is favourable to chant Lord Krishna’s Mantras on this day.
– It is considered very auspicious to take 7 parikramas of Govardhan Parvat made of Cow dung outside the house.
– Devotees should also light a lamp near the Tulsi plant and recite Radha Naamjap on this day.
– It is also good if all the family members stay together and connected on the day of Govardhan puja as it’s a festival of togetherness, faith, and love.
– You should not perform the Govardhan puja in a closed room.
– Avoid the consumption of non-vegetarian food on the day of Govardhan puja, as it is a vegetarian festival dedicated to Lord Krishna.
– Do not waste food, especially the Annakut offerings. It’s considered disrespectful to discard the food that has been offered to Lord Krishna. Leftover food should be consumed or distributed to those in need.
– You are strongly suggested to not look at the moon on this day.
– If you are performing a circumambulation (Parikrama) of Govardhan Parvat, then you must avoid dirty clothes.
– You should not skip the worship of cows on this day.
– Govardhan puja should not be done by family members separately as it’s considered inauspicious.
– Do not hurt or harm any animals on this day.
– Maintain a respectful and pious demeanour during the puja. Avoid engaging in any disrespectful or disruptive behaviour that may detract from the sacredness of the occasion.
– Avoid excessive commercialisation and focus on the true essence of the festival. Govardhan Puja is a religious occasion, and its spiritual significance should be upheld.
– While it’s customary to prepare and share a wide variety of dishes, avoid excessive indulgence or overeating during the festival. Practice moderation in your consumption of food.
(Views expressed by the expert in the article are their own, Zee News does not confirm or endorse the same.)